Rs400b allocation to revolutionise agriculture in Punjab: Experts

The allocation of Rs400 billion by the Punjab government is set to be a massive financial boost for farmers, rural communities and the agriculture sector, Dr. Malik from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, told WealthPK.

He said modern agricultural machinery is crucial for the sector, which is grappling with multiple problems, mainly due to climate change. With the help of modern machinery, farmers can enhance their production and minimize harvest losses, he added.

“The agriculture sector is playing a vital role in national and economic development. However, it’s ironic that our farmers are being neglected and the millers having ties with the policymakers are enjoying all the perks and privileges,” he said.

Currently, our farmers need access to water, as its scarcity is hitting production. Only modern irrigation methods can resolve the water scarcity issues and improve the financial condition of the farmers.

“To create a thriving agricultural landscape in Punjab, the government and farmers must work together closely. This program is a golden opportunity for the government and growers to strengthen the agriculture sector and boost productivity,” he said.

Punjab Minister for Agriculture Syed Ashiq Hussain said the government will take all necessary measures to promote modern technology in the agriculture sector.

Without incorporating the modern agricultural machinery, we will find difficulties in achieving the desired targets, said the minister. The latest machinery is indispensable for both production and prosperity of our farmers, he added. 

Ashiq said a mechanism has been evolved to provide interest-free loans to farmers and efforts will be made to solarize the tubewells.

Zahoor Ali, a progressive farmer, told WealthPK that climate change is impacting the agriculture sector and the farmers in Punjab are finding it hard to battle its effects. Like other countries, we have to adopt modern methods for cultivation by incorporating the latest machinery, he suggested. 

He said traditional cultivation methods are spoiling the agriculture sector instead of improving the per acre yield. Farmers are still struggling to get a good crop by avoiding harvesting losses, he added.

“Sensing the surging challenges, the growers now need modern approaches for cultivation. It is the primary responsibility of policymakers to train farmers in the latest methods and ensure provision of the latest machinery at subsidized rates. Without machinery and cutting-edge techniques, our agriculture sector will gradually lose its strength,” Zahoor Ali said.  
Talking to WealthPK about project implementation, Dr. Anjum from the agriculture department said it would be launched in a phased manner and all efforts would be ensured for the promotion of modern agricultural machinery.

He said the government has chalked out a plan to promote corporate farming. Without modern agricultural machinery, corporate farming will not serve us efficiently. He said following the promotion program, the government would provide 5,000 super seeders and 2,000 rice straw shredders to farmers.

Dr Anjum said government officials are also in contact with machinery dealers and distributors to resolve the import related bottlenecks so that the agriculture promotional program could proceed smoothly. 

“We have devised a strategy to conduct demos of the agricultural machinery so that our farmers can get knowledge about their efficacy,” he said.

Dr Malik said, “Our farmers also need high-quality seeds and subsidized fertilizers, as both inputs are crucial for good yield.” 

“We have to train the growers in modern farming techniques, soil health, pest control, and crop management. We have to protect our environment, and farmers can contribute a lot in this regard,” he stressed.

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